Unsal is a Turkish boxer who currently lives in Germany and fights at Super Welterweight. Since he gave up meat he has become the IBF European Champion, WBU World Champion and GBU World Champion. Later he turned vegan and since then has won the UBF European title twice, WBC Asia title and the BDB International German title.
In younger years, Unsal played soccer for Bayern in the B Youth team before a tibia fracture ended his career. At age 27 he started training in boxing as an amateur and turned professional at 30. In 2011, aged 31, he won the WBF World title.
In 2013 he became the IBF International Champion and the IBF Intercontinental Champion.
The first victories were as a meat eater, although in early 2015 Unsal gave up meat and in 2017 he went vegan.
“I would like to emphasize that I am very disappointed in myself – why I could not recognize for so many years how much those animals suffer” Unsal told Great Vegan Athletes. “After I got a little Chihuahua, his unconditional love made me think. I started to investigate, read stuff and found out the reality.
“After that the decision was simple and clear. Every life in this world has a right to live in peace and freedom.”
Unsal’s school of thought is clear from his own website where the words “Boxing World Champion with a big heart for animals” on the homepage. He’s also got a section headed ‘successful vegan athlete’ and has written a book ‘Vegboxen’ about his veganism in the sport.
Unsal’s respect for life and knowing what is important is very clear from his words and actions.
“I am grateful for all the food that Mother Nature gives us. As long as a living being did not suffer for it, everything can come to my table. But my favourite food that I can’t give up, is Turkish lentil soup.”
The vegan food fuels Unsal’s training, and enables him to build the strength, speed, fitness and skills that keep him at the top.
He also takes part in other sports.
“Even if everyone sees boxing as fighting, for me boxing is a brain game” he says. “Due to that, besides my daily boxing training, I always try different kinds of sports as well. Lately I discovered yoga, it definitely helps me to relax my mind and calm down after a stressful and violent training.”
By early 2021 Unsal, at age 40, has 31 wins from his 33 fights. 26 were knockouts.